Organized crime

Inside the $125,000 gay prison dating scam targeting straight men

In case you needed another reminder about being careful who you agree to meet up with online, a convict accused of running an elaborate, years-long gay dating scam using cellphones smuggled into an Oklahoma state prison was just ordered to fork over nearly $125,000 to his victims, the Oklahoman reports.

34-year-old Sean Siwek was already serving 20 years in the Lawton Correctional Facility for robbery and assault convictions when he concocted a sophisticated scam using illegally obtained cellphones to create fake dating profiles on a “voice-based dating” service. The name of the specific service has not been reported.

According to prosecutors, Siwek used the phones to connect with unsuspecting straight-identifying men. He would chat them up, pretending to be a male prostitute looking for sex with guys on the DL. One of his aliases was “Devon Jones,” a strapping, young 24-year-old living in Elyria, Ohio.

Related: Four teens charged with running sophisticated Grindr extortion scheme that will make you shudder

After arranging to meet up with the men “for a good time sexually,” Siwek would then call them up claiming to be law enforcement. He would inform them they had been communicating with a minor, then demand they pay him off or be faced with criminal charges, prosecutors alleged.

To get the money, Siwek would instruct his victims to purchase prepaid debit cards then give him the numbers over the phone. According to court records, he defrauded a total of six different victims in four different states out of more than $130,000 between October 2010 and August 2012.

It’s not entirely clear who provided Siwek with the cellphones, or how he managed to keep the operation going for so long without prison officials catching on.

“I’m appalled that this kind of conduct can happen inside a state prison,” U.S. District Judge Robin J. Cauthron said on Tuesday.

Siwek pleaded guilty to wire fraud in 2015. During his sentencing this week, rather than adding anymore time to his 20 year prison sentence, Judge Cauthron credited the two years Siwek spent in two different country jails awaiting his sentencing. He then demanded Siwek repay his victims and be placed under extra federal supervision.

Swiek will be eligible for parole in 2023, but something tells us he’s probably not going to get it.

Related: Man sues Grindr over elaborate sexual harassment scheme orchestrated by his ex

h/t: Oklahoman